Australian horseman and clinician Guy McLean struggled to hold back the tears as he thanked Road to the Horse Producer Tootie Bland and all those who had helped him accomplish his dreams of a second World Championship of Colt Starting. Guy McLean was not the only one struggling to hold back the tears. A sold-out crowd in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park was on their feet in applause, doing the exact same thing.
Fellow competitors Dan James, Obbie Schlom and Sarah Winters made it a photo finish as the event made the move from Murfreesboro, TN to Lexington, KY for the very first time. Cowgirls Obbie Schlom and Sarah Winters were placing first and second after the first three rounds of the World Championship of Colt Starting. Winters was the first competitor to tackle the Obstacle Challenge and with style and grace she displayed amazing horsemanship. She set the bar high and was the second competitor ever to demonstrate cow work during her freestyle time, the first person being her father, 2009 Road to the Horse Champion Richard Winters. Schlom made her mark as a young and talented cowgirl, displaying patience and skill as she guided her 6666 Ranch gelding through each test. Dan James had a gelding that tested his horsemanship skills through the Obstacle Challenge and like a true horseman James always put the best interests of the horse first.
Saturday night the floor of the Alltech Arena opened for a RAM Truck Tailgate Party to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Road to the Horse. Many past competitors of Road to the Horse attended the celebration including Clinton Anderson, Curt Pate, Craig Cameron, Stacy Westfall, Martin Black, Chris Cox, Mike Kevil, Tommy Garland, Ken McNabb, Glenn Stewart and Jonathan Field. Past competitors and sponsors of Road to the Horse donated personal items to be auctioned at the celebration to assist the Equine Services for Heroes Program at the Central Kentucky Riding for Hope with a goal of raising $10,000. Sunday afternoon Event Producer Tootie Bland was honored to present the Central Kentucky Riding for Hope with a check for $97,000 thanks to the generosity and kindness of those at the celebration.
The very first Road to the Horse Wild Card contestants also selected their geldings from the American Quarter Horse Association Remuda from the 6666 Ranch during Road to the Horse 2013. Road to the Horse Fans will have the opportunity to follow these contestants and their progress with their horses into 2014 on www.Roadtothehorse.com or on Road to the Horse Facebook. Road to the Horse 2014 is already shaping up to be as thrilling as 2013.
Those who missed the excitement of Road to the Horse 2013 can watch a replay of the action via webcast brought to you by Horsecity.com from March 19-22, 2013. DVDs from the event will be available June 2013.
Road to the Horse invites all fans to a “Pep Rally” for each competitor at their respective host hotels
on Thursday, March 14 from 8:00 to 9:00 pm.
As anticipation and excitement builds toward the first day of competition, fans are encouraged
to join in this brand new opportunity to show support for their favorite competitor and mingle with fellow
RTTH enthusiasts. Official event programs will be on sale and competitors will sign autographs and visit with fans.
At each of the four Pep Rallies, fans will receive free tickets to win valuable prizes provided by Gold and Platinum level Road to the Horse sponsors. RTTH staff members will be on hand to greet fans and answer questions, along with the Lexington visitors bureau who will provide information on local tourism sites and happenings throughout the weekend.
The four sites of the RTTH Pep Rallies are:
• Dan James at Marriott Griffin Gate – Terrace Atrium, near the lobby and bar/restaurant
• Guy McLean at Embassy Suites – Lower Atrium, also known as Manager’s Reception Area
• Sarah Winters at Four Points Sheraton – Library that adjoins lobby
• Obbie Schlom at Clarion Hotel – Pre-Function Area, an open area adjacent to meeting spaces
Kicking off the equestrian year, Road to the Horse is celebrating its 10th anniversary in a spectacular way. Past, present and future competitors will meet beneath one roof; this many clinicians have never been seen before in the same place at the same time. The mind-blowing amount of talent to gather in one arena is incomparable to any other international event. On hand to witness the 2013 competition and celebrate the 10th anniversary, this is your chance to talk with all your favorites of Road to the Horse.
Producer Tootie Bland really outdid herself planning an extravagant, over-the-top 10th anniversary party. On Saturday night in the Alltech Arena, there will be Ram tailgate bars during a celebration of horsemanship, horses and reliving the monumental moments of Road to the Horse. Spend time rubbing shoulders with industry leaders and your favorite Road to the Horse competitors. Some of the past clinicians returning are as follows: Clinton Anderson, Curt Pate, Craig Cameron, Stacy Westfall, Martin Black, Chris Cox, Mike Kevil, Tommy Garland, Ken McNabb, Guy McLean, Dan James, Glenn Stewart and Jonathan Field.
In 2003, Clinton Anderson set the world on fire when he took a victory stand on the back of his colt and waved to the crowd. That monumental move has become the signature piece for Road to the Horse. Anderson waltzed into a back-to-back repeat victory in 2005.
In 2006, Stacy Westfall, a recent National Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee, became the first woman to not only compete at Road to the Horse but to win hands down.
“This year was extraordinary,” says Bland. “The horses were extremely challenging and each clinician was outstanding. I also think Stacy’s win was a great step forward-confirming that women can compete differently, but on the same level as men.”
In 2007, Chris Cox made his first appearance and blew the crowd away with a spectacular performance.
In 2008, the competition was neck-and-neck until the moment the winning envelope was opened; then, Cox proved that he was still the best with a repeat win.
At the beginning of Winters’ 2009 training session, he explained to the crowd that his training approach was to train his colt as if it were just another day on the ranch. For Winters, this method included riding his colt in the obstacle course and freestyle performance in a halter rather than a bridle and bit. This feat made him the first champion to ride his colt to victory bitless.
In 2010, Cameron proved to be more than just a bench warmer by winning the world champion title.
Road to the Horse made a game changing decision in 2011 in bringing the Remuda colts from the legendary 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas, to be paired with the Legends of the horsemanship world. Clinton Anderson, Chris Cox and Pat Parelli stepped into the round pens writing history in this unforgettable competition for the title of World Champion. In the end, it was Cox’s earnest determination that won the judges’ favor and earned him the Road to the Horse Triple Crown; this achievement was undeniable proof that he was the unstoppable champion.
In 2012, all plans changed as Tootie expanded her search for the best clinician to the international level. Two competitors from Australia, Guy McLean and Dan James; two competitors from Canada, Jonathan Field and Glenn Stewart; and two competitors from the United States, Cameron and Parelli were selected. McLean and James cleaned house and took the road down under, and thereby proving that nothing could stand in their way, including Bland’s obstacles.
In 2013, the Road to the Horse legends will return to celebrate 10 years of exhilarating action. Never before have these competitors met under the same roof at the same time. Road to the Horse International 2012 champions James and McLean will return to defend their title as colt-starting world champions against newcomers Sarah Winters and Obbie Schlom.
Road to the Horse International 2013 celebrates the 10th anniversary of the World Champion Colt Starting competition with the most extravagant competition yet in Lexington, Kentucky.
A competition untouched by others, tests skill, experience and colt training prowess, Road to the Horse dares four young, elite horse trainers, Guy McLean, Dan James, Sarah Winters and Obbie Schlom, to create a trusting partnership with an untouched 3-year-old Quarter Horse from the renowned 6666 Ranch in Texas. Competitors have just three hours spread out over three days to build a working relationship with their colt. Clinicians work through the process using their own natural horsemanship style giving spectators a chance to learn from the best in the world. With disruptive sounds, exhilarating sights and adrenaline-pumping time constraints each competitor must face the final trial, an obstacle course. Only one will walk away with the Colt Starting World Champion Title.
Unlike the team format of 2012, these horsemen and horsewomen will represent their countries as individuals. Road to the Horse 2012 champions, Australians, McLean and James have their sights on once again being on top of the world.
Americans, Winters, 22, and Schlom, 18, will be the youngest ever competitors, marking only the second time another female competed in the event’s 10 year history. In a battle of Australia versus America, will the title go back to Australia or will the challengers keep it at home?
True horse enthusiasts recognize Road to the Horse as the event of the year. An event so big can only happen in one place; the “Horse Capital of the World”, Lexington, Kentucky. Meet horsemen and women from around the world at the Kentucky Horse Park for a truly unique experience. Now, for the first time ever, Road to the Horse legends will meet in one arena.
“This is the greatest equine event, held in the greatest facility, in the horse capital of the world,” says award-winning producer, Tootie Bland.
The event will expand into the Alltech Arena, home to the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Kentucky Horse Park on March 15-17, 2013. The site boasts an on-site campground, nearby racehorse farms and historical sites.
Road to the Horse has become the hottest ticket in the equine world and historically sells out months in advance. Don’t miss your chance to witness the World Championship of Colt Starting, much like the Super Bowl, being there is an experience that is unforgettable! Tickets for this electrifying event are on sale now and going fast at roadtothehorse.com.
Legendary 6666’s Ranch of Guthrie, Texas, will provide the 2013 Road to the Horse remuda for the third year in a row, testing the horsemanship of competitors, Dan James, Guy McLean, Sarah Winters, and Obbie Schlom.
“This year we’re bringing the best horses that have ever set foot at Road to the Horse,” says accomplished producer Tootie Bland.
Road to the Horse matches the world’s brightest horse trainers with the world’s most athletic horses. The historic Texas ranch is known for producing some of the most iconic performance American Quarter Horses in the industry.
“I’d like to think the horses get better every year,” says 6666’s Ranch resident veterinarian and AQHA executive committee member, Glenn Blodgett, DVM. “But truly this is, I think, a special group. They are really top notch and could be the best so far.”
Blodgett picks the top untouched 3-year-olds to compete in Road to the Horse. At the competition, riders take turns picking their equine partner. The foundation for a successful relationship between horse and rider is laid during their short time in the round pen. The competitors have only three days to turn these 3-year-olds into sure footed and confident companions.
“The main thing I strive for in the selection of the horses for Road to the Horse is selecting horses that are a good representative sample of what we are trying to produce on the ranch today,” says Blodgett. “This event showcases their athletic ability upon their interaction with horse trainers in the arena.”
2012 Road to the Horse champions, Dan James and Guy McLean won the competition aboard 6666’s colts, Remember Sunset, a grey gelding now called “Swampy From Heaven”, and Valliant Paddy, a sorrel who goes by “Aussie”. Both James and McLean were so impressed with Swampy and Aussie, they purchased the colts after the competition to incorporate into their own programs.
“The horses that the 6666’s Ranch brings each year are stunning,” says Bland. “These horses have amazing athletic ability.”
6666’s horses are carefully bred, under the watchful eye of Blodgett, to render cow sense, speed and agility. Some are kept on the ranch; others are trained for racing or performance competitions, and only a select few make it into the Road to the Horse competition.
The 6666’s is part of Burnett Ranches LLC, owned by Mrs. Anne W. Marion, the great-granddaughter of the ranch’s founder: Captain Samuel “Burk” Burnett. The ranch is the recipient of the AQHA All-Time Leading Breeder of Performance Horses, AQHA All-Time Leading Breeder of Race Money-Earners and Winners, as well as the coveted AQHA Best Remuda.
Two American women, Sara Winters and Obbie Schlom, are the final two competitors for the 2013 Road to the Horse. The California natives will put their hat in the ring against reigning 2012 champions from Australia, Dan James and Guy McLean. The four will square off as individuals next March to compete for the 2013 Road to the Horse Champion title.
Winters, 22, and Schlom, 18, will be the youngest ever competitors and this will mark only the second time another female has competed in the 10 year history of Road to the Horse.
There isn’t a time when either Schlom or Winters wasn’t on the back of a horse. Moving straight from their first steps into a high lope, these women have continued moving forward. But don’t think these undeniably fearless women forget where they come from.
Shlom is the small-town-girl with the can-do attitude. She lets nothing stand in her way. Winning over fans everywhere she goes, and us, she can make the best of any situation given to her. She may be, as she says, ‘just barely legal to vote,’ but we can’t wait to see what she does with her colt at Road to the Horse 2013.
At 22, Winters pretty much has everything a horse enthusiast could ask for; a world class training facility, a number of championships under her belt and a rock solid team of horses. This year, she’ll once again prove how talented she is — competing in her first Road to the Horse. Pretty impressive.
Proving to be Resilient
The life of a horse trainer is not always an easy one, a lesson Schlom had to learn the hard way. “At a young age people started to see that I wasn’t afraid they started sending me horses they couldn’t control. It was one challenge after another.” Schlom reminisces about the long days she endured just to stay on track.
“Then I got a black thoroughbred. He was a challenge but we overcame everything together.” Devastation hit when he had to be put down. “Last October we went to a cowboy race and he coliced. By the time we got him into surgery it was too late.” Schlom says with a melancholy tone, “That horse was my world and when we put him down I thought to myself I worked so hard with him, now what’s the point? But I just kept reminding myself that he will always be with me watching over me.”
Every trial and tribulation comes with a lesson. “I realized that there are going to be stumbles in the road, I just have to pick my head up and keep going. Things are going to happen and I have no control over them.” Schlom has learned to keep moving forward no matter what obstacle may lie ahead; a value that will certainly prove handy during competition.
The pressure is on
Winters not only bares the pressure of being a trailblazer herself, her father, Richard Winters, is also a former Road to the Horse Champion. “Any of the extra pressure would be self-inflicted,” says Winters, “He has set the bar pretty high within the industry, so I do put a certain amount of pressure on myself to be the best that I can be.” Winning several world titles sounds like she’s hanging out at the top of the industry. “I don’t know,” Winters says with a cool and comedic tone. “If I meet someone at the top I’ll ask them!”
In a very much male dominated society sometimes it’s hard for women to stand out, so the saying must be true that “well-behaved women rarely make history”. “It is a very much male dominated industry,” Winters says with a short snicker. “But it’s funny because 80 percent of the clinic participants are women.” Demographics won’t slow this go-getter down. “It’s my goal to show that women are capable of getting great things done with their horses, and they don’t have to settle for anything less than excellence.”
Schlom says with true country charm, “I think Sarah and I need to step up to the plate and practice so when the time comes we can shine through. It’s pretty intimidating going up against two of the handiest men in the world but we’re going to give them a run for their money.” We don’t doubt that for a second.
Age is just a number
For these two competitors their gender is not the only thing that makes them unique to Road to the Horse history, they’re also the youngest to ever compete. So both women are calm and confident, right? “For me this is where most of the pressure comes from,” Winters says, tensing up. “I have never started a colt in front of thousands of horse enthusiast. This is very exciting and just a little scary!”
“I’m really blown away,” says Schlom, “I know there are so many that would love to be in my position.”
Although performing the most difficult of tasks with the world watching can be a bit intimidating, Winters still gets a twinkle in her eye when talking about her future. “I have confidence in my program and when a door opens up there comes a point when you need to walk through it and not look back!”
Road to competition
Knowing you’ve been chosen to compete at Road to the Horse gives competitors time to prepare themselves and maybe built a bit of anxiety. Apprehension isn’t a word in Winters’ dictionary, she welcomes the competition with years of preparation. “I am fortunate because my job naturally prepares me for Road to the Horse. We constantly have new horses coming in either for clinics or for training.”
How does Winters plan to get into competition mode? “There will be a lot of colts to start come January 1st, so I am definitely going to have Road to the Horse in mind as I start each one.”
Taking an untouched colt through their first interactions could go really well for some and could spell disaster for others, just ask some of the past competitors. Either outcome, each competitor is responsible for what will be the foundation of the rest of that colt’s training. No pressure. During a competitor’s time in the show ring they’re equipped with a microphone to talk about their process aloud with thousands watching and waiting. This is the chance for competitors to connect with the audience and walk them through their technique. Winters is prepared for what may lie in her future, “At Road to the Horse I want to be very careful to not get caught up in the competition, but to be there for the horse. Of course I want to win but I am not going to put winning above what is best for the horse.” Not to forget about the audience she hopes that they understand her smooth and deliberate style. Showing people that working smarter, not necessarily harder, is the key to a successful relationship with the colt.
Schlom’s goal for her time in the show ring is also to put the horse above the win. “It’s about getting the horse as solid as possible with my time. It’s not going to be an easy task but I want to apply my technique and teach people that getting in a rush doesn’t produce results. My competition is pretty stiff but I’m going to do my best.”
“These two have a big job ahead of them and tough competition standing in their way,” said Producer Tootie Bland. “They also have the incredible talent and skill to showcase the next generation of natural horsemanship in the United States.”
The four competitors will come together in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, to compete for the Road to the Horse title in March 2013.
In celebration of 10 incredible years of natural horsemanship, Road to the Horse is giving away three chances to attend the 2013 event in celebrity style. Three Golden Ticket winners will receive hotel accommodations, access to the Road to the Horse suite, premier seats for the competition, rock star introduction during opening ceremony and much more.
Fans have three chances to win a Golden Ticket, including: one ticket shipped in a 2012 Road to the Horse DVD (on sale now). By participating in a treasure hunt one ticket will be awarded to a Facebook fan, and the final awarded to a Road to the Horse Nation’s member.
Golden ticket winners will also receive a free 2013 Road to the Horse DVD, signed copy of Starting Colts by Head Road to the Horse Judge, Mike Kevil, and a copy of Horse Lovers Guide to Lexington. To complete the Road to Lexington experience, winners will receive one of the following packages from the Kentucky Horse Park: Family Four Pack of passes to the Horse Park, Family Season Pass, or four tickets to a Unique Horse Farm Tour.
Road to the Horse is celebrating its 10th anniversary and a new home at the Alltech Arena in the heart of horse country, Lexington, Kentucky. Reigning 2012 champions, Dan James and Guy McLean are confirmed as the first 2013 competitors. And keeping with the tradition of always topping the previous year, award-winning and always zany producer, Tootie Bland, has a major twist up her sleeve when the final two competitors are announced later this month.
Stay tuned to RoadToTheHorse.com and Road to the Horse Facebook page for more details on how to enter the Golden Ticket Giveaway. The first winner will be announced July, 2, 2012.
The bar was raised at Road to the Horse 2012 and the race is on as 2013 rolls around the corner. The pressure is on for producer Tootie Bland to raise the stakes of the competition. In celebration of 10 incredible years of natural horsemanship Road to the Horse, Bland is giving away three Golden Tickets. The Golden Ticket winners will experience Road to the Horse in the best premier seats in the house, hotel accommodations for two nights will be provided, access to the sponsorship suite, experience Road to the Horse celebrity status in the opening ceremonies plus much more.
Only two competitors are left to be announced to the public. Bland’s final two decisions have been the most grueling but also the most exciting. Reigning Road to the Horse 2012 champions, Dan James and Guy McLean, are competing for the individual title. This time the Australian team, James and McLean, will be competing on behalf of themselves and their country. Road to the Horse fans are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the United States representative(s). Rest assured that an announcement will be made, by producer Tootie Bland, on June 28, 2012.
The World Championship of Colt-Starting pits the top horsemen and women against each other to prove the most effective methods, talents and skills. By taking a naïve colt through their first lessons in front of thousands makes this competition one of the most difficult sports on dirt.
Dan James and Guy McLean certainly proved to be no underdog in Road to the Horse International 2012 as they battled together to defeat some of the world’s toughest competition. This time James is throwing his name into the hat to match against his former teammate vying for the title of Road to the Horse 2013 International champion. Each trainer will represent themselves as well as their country by challenging each competitor’s determination, talent, patience and composure.
The three-day World Championship of Colt Starting is moving to the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park at Lexington, Ky. The event, a united part of the natural horsemanship revolution, will be held March 15-17, 2013. Nowhere else can you watch top clinicians compete to ride an untouched colt in just a few short hours except at Road to the Horse.
“This event sets the bar for horsemanship and entertainment and I feel very proud to be a part of such an elite group of horsemen,” says James.
Born in Queensland, Australia James began his lifelong passion for horses at six weeks old when he first sat on a horse. Breaking his first horse at 14 years of age brought a new understanding and opened a world of opportunities. James has travelled the world learning many equine disciplines, from show jumping and cutting to roman riding. Not only will the audience be able to watch James take a colt from inexperienced and untouched to a sound, willing partner, they will also be able to listen to him work through his problems aloud. James’ real passion lies in horsemanship and showmanship and always brings a bit of entertainment to his shows and clinics.
“Guy McLean, I know, is going to be hungrier than ever to come back next year to compete and it’s going to be kind of tough to go up against my old teammate. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of showcasing once again my skills and horsemanship and sharing my methods with the audience that’s going to be here,” Says James.
Tickets for Road to the Horse 2013 are on sale now. More information about the event can be found at www.roadtothehorse.com.
Guy McLean, one half of the Australian duo that swept Road to the Horse International 2012, announces his bid for Road to the Horse gold in 2013, this time by himself.
Road to the Horse 2013 will bring horseman from around the globe to compete in the World Championship of Colt Starting. Unlike the team format of 2012, these horsemen will represent their countries as individuals. As the first of four competitors to be announced, McLean will carry the Australian flag and has his sights on once again being on top of the world. The remaining 2013 International competitors will be announced one by one in upcoming weeks.
In just three days inexperienced colts transform into willing partners. Clinicians work through the process using their own style of natural horsemanship giving spectators a chance to learn from the best in the world, all in one place.
The event will expand into the AllTech Arena inside the Kentucky Horse Park on March 15-17, 2013. Tickets for this electrifying event are on sale now at roadtothehorse.com and are going fast. Don’t miss out on the hottest ticket in the equine world!
The Kentucky Horse Park, renovated for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, was designed to host events like Road to the Horse. The site has hosted a multitude of national and international equine events and boasts an on-site campground, nearby racehorse farms and historical sites. With these
Producer Tootie Bland is excited that Road to the Horse is on the road to Lexington. She calls the Kentucky Horse Park a “world-class facility” and a perfect place for the event’s many supporters to explore and enjoy.
Road to the Horse Nation members will also benefit with “Legacy Seating” in Lexington, which will allow them to find their home away from home at Road to the Horse. Seats chosen for the 2013 event can be retained in their name for years to come. No more hassles to insure they get the best seats in the house.
For more information and tickets to the Road to the Horse International 2013 at the Kentucky Horse Park visit www.roadtothehorse.com.